Ogilvy & Mather gets back in the events saddle with World Masters Games win

Ogilvy & Mather has already got the Auckland Council business. And it’s happily suckling from the bureaucratic teat once again, after being chosen as the full-service agency for the 2017 World Masters Games, which is “likely to be the largest event hosted in New Zealand in the next decade”. 

The business was won through a competitive pitch run by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED). And while executive director Paul Manning was unaware of the competing agencies, he says the fact that it had worked with ATEED on the successful ‘The World’s Here to Play’ campaign for the Rugby World Cup certainly helped in this situation. 

“The thing with event marketing is that it’s one of those cases where experience counts for a lot. So we did make quite a big fuss in the pitch about the experience we had. We also had a great creative response and the price would’ve definitely helped too.” 

Ogilvy & Mather will be working with the newly formed Auckland 2017 World Masters Games organisation, which has around 50 staff and a budget of $33.6 million ($11 million from both the government and Auckland Council and the rest set to be made up by sponsorship), to develop the event brand and all advertising and promotional activity for the local and international markets. This will include all related strategy, creative, digital, direct, media and production services. 

This project sits outside its core contract with the Auckland Council, Manning says. But as the agency does already have a large team dealing with that account, he says it’s well placed to scale up for these events.  

“O&M presented us with great creative work that demonstrated the real breadth and depth of their capabilities,” says Jennah Wootten, chief executive of Auckland 2017 World Masters Games. “Our decision was based on several factors, particularly the quality of the agency, their ability to deliver on a timely basis and price. O&M have a great track record in event marketing and we’re looking forward to working together over the next few years.”

The World Masters Games is the largest multi-sport event in the world and is expected to attract over 36,000 visitors, with 25,000 athletes competing in 30 different sports (16 mandatory based on the Olympics and 14 chosen by the host nation). The ten-day event, which will be held in approximately 45 different venues across the Auckland region and will require the services of around 5,000 volunteers and sports officials, is tipped to deliver $36 million in terms of GDP impact for Auckland. 

Sir John Wells, who has been involved with a number of recent major sporting events as either board chair or director, namely Rugby NZ 2011 Ltd (Rugby World Cup), Volvo Ocean Race Auckland Stopover 2012 Local Organising Committee, the Barfoot & Thompson ITU Triathlon World Cup 2011 and World Champs 2012, was appointed as board chair.


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